Christine Tona is April’s Coalition Member of the Month


Christine Tona is April’s Coalition Member of the Month, representing our school sector.

Christine has been working in the education field for 29 years. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education, a Master’s degree in Reading, and a Professional Diploma in School District Administration. She also has teaching certifications in Elementary Education N-6, Reading K-12, and Mathematics 7-12.

Since 2016 Christine Tona has served as Riverhead Central School District’s Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction. Previously, she was an Elementary Principal and Executive Director for Curriculum in West Babylon School District. Christine was a classroom teacher for ten years before she embarked on her administrative positions.

Education and Well-Being for Riverhead Students

Christine Tona oversees academic disciplines and special areas. She is responsible for working with teachers and administrators to provide a well-rounded, rigorous education to all Riverhead students. During the past four years Christine Tona has had several outstanding achievements that have improved education and well-being for students. She established Parent University to promote parent and family involvement in education. She has also created opportunities for teachers and administrators to  work together during Instructional Rounds.

Christine believes collaborating with teachers, administrators, and the community helps students achieve their fullest potential. She is a member of the NYS Association of Women Administrators and serves as a mentor for new and aspiring administrators.

Instrumental in Coalition Initiatives

Christine Tona has been working with Riverhead CAP and the Riverhead Community Coalition for Safe and Drug-Free Youth since 2016. She has been instrumental in achieving many coalition initiatives and promoting a strong partnership between the school district, CAP, and the coalition. She has worked with the coalition and Suffolk County Department of Health Services to institute VAPE OUT at Riverhead High School. This 4-session vaping cessation program is an alternative to suspension. As part of this initiative, students are offered additional support with counseling services provided by a Riverhead CAP social worker.

Last year, Christine Tona invited the Riverhead Youth Coalition to participate in Parent University. During this event, youth coalition members enhanced skills and empowered parents to effectively talk to their child about substance use. She has partnered with the coalition to institute Pre-Prom Meetings and Red Carpet events. The goal of these events are to prevent underage drinking during prom and graduation season. She also participates in the coalition’s annual Meet and Greet event to increase collaboration and capacity among key community stakeholders.

Developing Strategies and Achieving Outcomes

Christina Tona also works with the coalition to collect data for our needs assessment. This has significantly assisted in developing strategies to prevent substance use among Riverhead youth. She worked with the coalition to administer the 2018 Prevention Needs Assessment survey and sits on the coalition’s Evaluation Committee. This committee oversees data collection methods and the 12-month Action Plan.

Christine Tona has been key in helping the coalition achieve positive long-term outcomes that have been recognized on a national level. In 2019, the coalition was named Coalition of the Year by CADCA (Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America), the nation’s leading substance abuse prevention organization. This is the third consecutive Coalition of Excellence Award for the coalition, which also received the award for short-term outcomes in 2017 and intermediate outcomes in 2018. As part of Coalition of the Year, Christine participated in a CADCA video that highlighted the importance of collaboration among schools and coalitions.

Riverhead Community Coalition Coordinator Kelly Miloski recently sat down with Christine Tona to talk about her experience with the coalition. Here are the highlights:

why did you become involved in the coalition?

“I initially got involved in the coalition because I wanted to be sure that the voice of the school district was present at the monthly coalition meetings. Once I started to attend, I enjoyed meeting different people from across the Riverhead community and learning about the different organizations that are available to support our students and their families.”

What is your favorite coalition Activity?

“The Meet and Greet event is my favorite coalition activity because it shows the community how all of the different sectors unite to support our students and their families. This is our showcase event where Riverhead Youth Coalition members are given a chance to shine and share all that they have learned and how they share the message of living a healthy life with their peers.”

Name Three Words That Best Describe You.

“Child-centered, dedicated, and ambitious.”

What adventures are still on Your Bucket List?

“Travel! I want to visit every state in the US as well as travel through Europe and visit Australia.”

Besides Coalition Work, What Else do You Like To DO?

“I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, reading and participating in my community’s book club, and traveling.”

Interested in learning more about coalition membership?

To learn more about joining the Riverhead Community Coalition for Safe and Drug-Free Youth , contact Kelly Miloski at (631) 727-3722 ext. 106 or